It started almost a year ago with a few tweets. That’s when Jennifer Pahlka and I decided to organize a barcamp dedicated to Gov 2.0 at the local level. With absolutely zero forethought we decided that the time had come to take all of this talk about open data, participatory media, and “government as platform” to the places where citizens intersect government most directly and often: the places in which we live.
Over the weekend of January 23 & 24, 115-or-so people came from across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. to have earnest conversations about how to make municipal governments more open and user friendly. We wanted to show local governments how to leverage the Web as a platform for building smarter local governments. We wanted to understand the obstacles that stand in the way of this goal.
CityCamp Chicago was that inaugural event and it was a success beyond our expectations. As we concluded the first CityCamp, we had no plans or expectations to carry on. Our hope was that people would just copy what we did and have their own CityCamps. In fact, Washington, D.C. did just that. But as time went on, I started getting calls and emails: “Hey, when are you going to do a CityCamp in my city?” Or, “We’re thinking about doing a CityCamp. Can you help us out?” That’s when I realized what had to be done.
Today I am thrilled, and admittedly a bit nervous, as we launch this online hub for CityCamp along with a CityCamp ‘World Tour.’
As part of our efforts to promote the CityCamp Word Tour, we’re working with GovFresh to create this new hub for all things CityCamp.
There’s still an open barcamp wiki and a public forum. This site brings it all together through a common portal with a great look and feel. In fact, our hope is that this site will help establish CityCamp as an ‘open source brand,’ something that is both easily repeatable and recognizable for anyone to use. That’s why we put CityCamp in the Creative Commons. There will be a few rules to follow, but as few as possible. We haven’t completely worked out those details but didn’t want to wait to get started.
We’re working on making CityCamp an “open source brand.” CityCamp should exist in the Creative Commons. Open source ensures that CityCamp is maintained as a pattern that is easily repeatable and for anyone to use. Branding ensures that the pattern is recognizable and that independent organizers don’t misrepresent CityCamp. No one organization will own CityCamp. Instead it will be maintained by the CityCamp community supported by a cadre of local community organizers.
Video is by Peter Corbett, iStrategy Labs